My final read of last month was something that I’d been intrigued by since watching the Netflix adaptation. However, I wasn’t exactly desperate to read it. The major reason that I actually decided to read it was because I need an E to complete my reading challenge. Officially, it’s not even an E title but I’m giving myself a pass on this one. Obviously, I’m a big fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, so I was a little worried about reading this. I’d been burnt by Anthony Horowitz’s The House of Silk before. It just didn’t pass the vibe check and didn’t get the character right. At least Nancy Springer isn’t writing an actual Holmes mystery.
After struggling to finish Beautiful World, Where Are You, I definitely needed something to get me back in the reading spirit. So, I guess a book that promised something pretty distressing wasn’t the most likely choice but I felt like this would be a good tonic to Sally Rooney’s latest dense tome. Considering I got through it in a couple of days means that I was correct in my assessment. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sunset but I’m glad that I finally got round to reading it. I was definitely fooled by the colourful cover. I don’t know what it is but I never expect pink books to be heavy-duty. I thought they were meant to be light and fluffy. This was anything but.
The second book that I read on my holiday was another of my September pre-orders and one of the most anticipated novels of this year. I’ve only ever read Normal People but I really loved it. It was an absolute 5 star read, so I was looking forward to seeing what she came up with next. I always intended to read Conversations With Friends before I read Sally Rooney’s third book but just never got round to it. Still, I thought this sounded really interesting and I think Rooney is one of the most interesting and exciting writers around. Although, I’ve read a few Millennial writers, so it was always possible that my opinion of her had changed slightly.
I’m really happy with how all of my reading at the moment. I don’t know whether it’s just that I’m coming out of a very recent slump or that I’m just reading better books. Whatever it is, I’m very pleased with how it’s all going. I’m not necessarily as fast as I normally am but I’m definitely inspired by the novels I’m finishing. The latest one was a book club pick but also a book that I’ve wanted to read for ages. Longer than I actually realised. When I was about halfway through the paperback version, I realised that I had bought a Kindle copy of this book in 2016. So, I’ve been meaning to read this for 5 years and had forgotten all about it. My Kindle is full of books like that. Ones that I buy when they cost 99p but forget about moments later. At least I can finally cross one off the my list of unread ebooks.
In light of all of the Covid nonsense, I’ve really not been keeping track of awards season this year. I’ve barely watched any of the nominees. Or at least I’m pretty sure that I haven’t because I don’t even know who all of the nominees are. I’ve just lost my way with films and decided that there were other things to focus on this year. Plus, it isn’t really the same when you can’t head out to the cinema. Despite my Oscars blackout, I was still overjoyed to wake up to the news that this year’s ceremony had made history. Anthony Hopkins became the oldest person to ever win for acting. Daniel Kaluuya picked up the best supporting actor and became the first Black British actor to win an Oscar. Then there’s Chloé Zhao who became not only the second woman to win Best Director but also the first woman of colour. It’s quite the positive step for the Academy. Emerald Fennel was given recognition for her screenplay and became the first person since 2007 to win. This was only one that I was really invested in. I was desperate for Fennel to win. Why? Not only was the film important and original but I’m becoming obsessed with Fennel. She seems like a fantastic human being with a unique creativity. This was one film that I knew I had to see as soon as possible.
As I mention far too often, I’m currently taking part in a virtual book club. It’s something my friend set up at the start of the first lockdown and one that I joined after a couple of months. I never thought of myself as a book club kind of person but I’m really enjoying discussing the books every week. My major problem is having nothing of interest to say, which mostly happens with books that I don’t really like. When the monthly pick is an underwhelming book, I tend to forget a lot about it before the meeting. Part of the reason that I try and read the book as close to the deadline as possible. Luckily for me, there has only been a couple of duds since I joined. In fact, it’s been a great range of titles that I’m really glad to have had the chance to read. This month, I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the potential titles, so I didn’t even vote. Considering how it’s turned out, I think I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about taking responsibility for yourself.
I first found out about this book because of Instagram. I’d been following Harriet Young (thesenovelthoughts) for a while so I had been aware that she was writing her first novel. When she was looking for funding on Unbound, it didn’t take a lot of persuasion for me to preorder it. I was fascinated by the story and the history of the Pendle witch trials. I’ve been waiting to read this one for a long time and, when it arrived last moth, I couldn’t wait to start reading it. Of course, it was just a huge coincidence that it also crossed off one more letter on my Spell the Month Challenge.
In order to complete my Spell the Month Challenge for February, I knew that I’d have to find a book title that started with Y. After reading Yes Please last month, I wasn’t sure that I’d have anything already on my shelves. So. I ended up buying something to fit the bill. Unfortunately there aren’t an awful lot of inspiring books beginning with Y. Or at least not that I was able to get in time. I’ve for a bit of time before I’ll need my next one, so I’ll have to do some proper research. For this month, my Y pick was I book I randomly found on Amazon. It sounded interesting enough and, most importantly, was quick. Meaning that, even if it ended up being terrible, I wouldn’t have to push on through a really long novel.
I meant to read Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding back in December but I never got round to it. I ended up with far too many things to on my festive TBR and something had to suffer. Unfortunately, that was Nancy Mitford. Thankfully this month’s book club gave me the chance to make up for this when her novel The Pursuit of Love was chosen. It wasn’t my first choice but I was more than happy with the selection. In fact, it was probably the best bunch of novels so far. I’ve also learnt my lesson from previous months and not left the reading until the last minute. Of course, the chances are Ill have forgotten a lot of it by tomorrow’s meeting but it’s better than rushing the last third. This is what happens when people give me a reading deadline. I just lose all motivation to get it done.
After the travesty that was my previous read, there was a lot of pressure for the next one to be worthwhile. I’ve had Nothing Can Hurt You for a while now and I was really looking forward to reading it. I almost started reading it last December but decided to stick with more seasonal books. I’m glad I waited because I’m not sure that I was in the right mindset last month. After a couple of false starts where I only got through one chapter a night, I raced to the end of this book. It’s the first time in ages when I’ve just stayed up reading. I got to the final chapter at the time I’d normally call lights out but I knew that I had to keep going. Any regret caused by my fatigue the next day was worth it.